If Greater Cincinnati is a conservative region filled with tight-ass people, the Cincy Fringe Festival is a laxative. It loosens us up, gets things moving a little better and smoother.
Maybe the Fringe Festival is fiber in our otherwise meat-and-potatoes cultural diet. The annual event helps balance out the rest of our stodgy, by-the-book year.
Given the over-the-top nature of many Fringe performers, the festival could be considered an enema. Ponder that metaphor for a few minutes.
Now there’s a ticket sales pitch the Fringe staff could run with: “Detox your colon! Attend the Cincy Fringe Festival!”
Knowing the off-kilter freaks at Know Theatre who produce the Fringe Festival, I wouldn’t be surprised if they haven’t already discussed that slogan. It probably finishes No. 2 every year in their internal planning sessions.
The festival’s sixth annual iteration returns next week, starting with a kick-off party May 26 at Know Theatre in Over-the-Rhine. CityBeat once again is sponsoring the party — we’ve been the overall print media sponsor from the very beginning — so plan to join us for music by local Jam/Jazz band Eclipse and food from nearby Mixx Ultra Lounge.
Then the performances begin May 27: a total of 31 productions on 12 stages over 11 days, ending June 6. The variety will be breathtaking: theater, poetry, improv comedy, dance, one-person shows and crazy fringey stuff they call “interdisciplinary” (i.e., you have to be there to understand).
Don’t take my word for it. Cincinnati’s pre-eminent theater critic and writer, Rick Pender, explains it all for you here.
I’m happy to take some time here to try convincing you to expand your mind at the Fringe Festival, but if you’re reading CityBeat I presume you already get it. You just have to decide which nights and which shows you’ll take in.
For those who haven’t tried the Fringe Festival before, just think of a time when you needed to go to the bathroom and had to hold it a while. You know how great it feels when you finally go? Yeah, attending the Fringe Festival feels like that. Maybe better.
We all know things are crappy for everyone right now. The economy sucks, friends are losing jobs and people are hanging on to any extra money they have.
Fringe Festival leaders have struggled with sponsorship dollars since the death earlier this year of their main sponsor, Dr. Robert Thierauf. Even in the best of times, they’ve received little financial support from corporations and politicians who supposedly want Cincinnati to be the kind of place where young professionals live and work — you know, a place with a thriving Fringe Festival.
But we all have to persevere through these tough times. And we have to stop being so damned constipated.
We must survive, and the Fringe Festival must survive. We need each other.
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